Getting to this a bit late, but over the holidays I spent almost two weeks traveling in China, and, I’ll be honest, I had some very difficult cultural differences with a number of the people I encountered there which cast a dark cloud over much of the experience.
However, I have dreamed of visiting since I was a kid obsessed with Mulan (my all-time favorite Disney film and the ONLY truly queer/feminist animated movie of its era) and The Amazing Panda Adventure, and I did have some wonderful experiences there–ate some amazing food, saw some amazing sights, and got to spend a lot of quality time with my brother (who, along with my other brother and sister, I don’t see nearly as often as I would like to.
So, even if my time there wasn’t all I had hoped it would be, I’m glad to have had the chance to visit, and to be reminded that travel really is about learning more than anything, and learning sometimes means being in uncomfortable situations, and having your expectations upended.
In any case, China is obviously a vast, magnificently beautiful country that is home to an incredibly rich civilization to which we (and I personally) owe respect and gratitude for a lot of things, including producing and providing the setting for some of the stories we love best. As a queer, film-obsessed child growing up in the 90s, Mulan was very important to me, and if nothing else, visiting China has allowed to connect to and appreciate it in a deeper and more profound way. It’s hard to be anything other than thankful for that.